WATCH - Rory Best sums up the dejection in the Irish dressing room after chastening defeat in Scotland
Ireland captain Rory Best blamed uncharacteristic errors, naivety and Scottish excellence as the reasons why Ireland Six Nations campaign began with a 'bitterly disappointing' 27-22 defeat at Murrayfield.
Stuart Hogg stamped his name onto the British and Irish Lions 15 jersey with two stunning tries that left Ireland's RBS 6 Nations campaign in tatters.
Hogg lacerated Ireland's woeful defence as Scotland triumphed, to make good on all their pre-tournament hype.
The Scots had proudly declared the 2017 vintage ready to blossom into their best Test team in a generation, and here Vern Cotter's side started that process in fine style.
Paddy Jackson's converted try saw Ireland rally from 21-5 down to lead 22-21, only for Greig Laidlaw to slot two late penalties and secure a fine victory.
Ireland appeared a shadow of the side that toppled back-to-back world champions New Zealand 40-29 in Chicago in November, with Joe Schmidt's men desperately craving a cutting edge.
Many Six Nations predictions had neutrals breezily dreaming of a Grand Slam decider when Ireland host England in Dublin on March 18.
Scotland spoiled Ireland's St Patrick's Day weekend party planning in spectacular fashion though, blowing the competition wide open in the process.
Rory Best says the Irish players are "taking a good long hard look at ourselves" after the defeat to Scotland. pic.twitter.com/AdpcPqIGlS— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) February 4, 2017
Scotland made a mockery of any Ireland pretensions to this year's title in a first-half dismantling of boss Schmidt's much-vaunted game plan.
Defence coach Andy Farrell must have been tearing his hair out in the stands as Ireland's rearguard action fell far too short of expected standards.
Rory Best could not hide his disappointment after the game.
He told RTE Sport: "It's not what we came here for ad we're disappointed. There's not a lot of voice in the changing room.
"We're taking a good, long look at ourselves and we're very, very disappointed with that first half performance.
"For large parts of that first half, we did the opposite of what we talked about what we were coming here to do.
"We were very naive, if you look at them, for one of them we got caught very narrow, the other one we didn't exit, something we pride ourselves on, and the third one, we got caught with a special play at the lineout.
"Credit to them, they took their opportunities very, very well.
"That's uncharacteristic of us and that's what's mos frustrating about it. The mountain that we gave ourselves to climb at half time
"We'll take a little bit of credit for the way we fought back.
"At half time, we thought it was going to be a really tough ask in the second half but that we wanted to show character and we felt that if we could get momentum, we could grow into the game and really take it by the scruff of the neck. Which we did.
"To let that slip, that penalty and then some uncharacteristic errors when we were behind. We probably got a little bit frantic.
"There is no other word to sum it up except disappointed.
"The way the first half went and the way we finished the game."